Posts Tagged ‘moon’


What am I looking at?

February 22, 2015

This post is re-blogged from Lights in the Dark, with thanks.

There was no viewing of the event in my neck of the woods – it’s still snowing.

Three Worlds, One Shot: a February 2015 Conjunction Event

Conjunction of the Moon, Venus, and Mars on Feb. 20, 2015. © Jason Major.

Did you have clear skies last night? If so, you may have been able to catch the sight above: a conjunction of the crescent Moon and the planets Venus and Mars in the western sky!

I captured the photo above with a Nikon D7000 and a Sigma 150-500mm lens. Venus is the brighter object at left, Mars appears dimmer and redder above. Part of the Moon’s “dark side” can be seen due to Earthshine – sunlight reflected off Earth onto the Moon. (Sometimes romantically called “the old Moon in the new Moon’s arms.”)

Although the worlds were only within a degree or two of each other in the sky they were in reality very far apart (obviously). The actual distances from Earth to each at the time of the event? Moon: 363,784 km; Venus: 213 million km; Mars: 329.1 million km.


Whose notebook am I reading?

January 8, 2014

galileo notebook

 This is a page from Galileo’s notebook.  On this day in 1610, he recorded his observations of the moons of Jupiter, noting that they did not behave as stars, but appeared to travel with the planet.  It was this and other observations that cause Galileo trouble with the church.  They are also the reason his name and work endure today – 404 years later.  While Galileo was able to discern Jupiter’s 4 largest moons, the actual number of this planet’s moons is 50 or more. Thanks to Lights in the Dark for this reference.


jup moons


What were we watching forty-five years ago?

December 24, 2013

Thanks to Lights in the Dark.


What is tattoo Tuesday about?

June 11, 2013


I never get tired of looking at the moon and I found this “fun fact” on my iPad Moon app today:

How long would it take to get there?

Car ( @ 60 mph) – 5 months, 22 days, 15 hours, 56 minutes, 48 seconds

Plane (@ 600 mph) – 17 days, 11 hours, 23 minutes, 41 seconds

Sound (@ 761 mps) – 13 days, 18 hours, 39 minutes, 8 seconds

Saturn V (@ 17,432 mph) – 14 hours, 26 minutes, 20 seconds

Light (@ 186,282 mps) – 1.351 seconds

This is because the moon is at (or nearly at apogee) which makes it 251,673 miles away, or 1,350,546 Eiffel Towers away from Earth.  The moon’s phase is a waxing crescent.

Here are some moon tattoos.

moon leg

moon arm

moon neck

moon stamp

moon shoulder


What am I observing?

September 24, 2012

I’m a little slow on the uptake, but September 22 was International Observe the Moon Day.  Thanks to Lights in the Dark for recommending this amazing video.  I’ve got my bags all packed for the next shuttle . . . oh, never mind.

And for stars of a completely different nature, go read Millenium Conjecture.


Why was I looking up?

May 7, 2012

On May 5 the full moon achieved it closest approach to the earth at midnight.  This has been called a super moon and is explained here.

I drove to a high spot with an unobstructed view and gazed toward what was (I hoped) east.  And  soon a ghostly white and very large full moon rose up from the horizon.  I was surprised at how fast the moon rose – actually a function of how fast the earth is spinning.  It was pretty impressive.  I was not as impressed by my photos of the event, so I found the one above which is better.

I actually went outside later that night (3:00 am) and the moon was so bright that it made the trees cast very distinct shadows on the ground.

I read that the tides are higher at these times, as well, but living on Lake Erie with a tidal range of inches, it did not make much difference.

Here are the figures: the distance between the Moon and the Earth varies from around 356,400 km (at perigee) to 406,700 km (at apogee.)

My photos: